Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Heath Marrs

Second Committee Member

Dr. Susan Lonborg

Third Committee Member

Dr. Kara Gabriel

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Jenna Hyatt

Abstract

Student success is influenced by a complex array of factors, including implicit theories of intelligence, or mindset. Previous research has shown that students’ mindset, whether they view intelligence as a fixed quantity or something that can be incrementally increased, can predict academic achievement. Students who hold a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is a static trait that cannot be changed and often internalize failure, exert less effort when faced with difficulty, and avoid challenging work in order to preserve their self-image. Conversely, students who hold a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be cultivated by engaging in challenging experiences. These students seek growth opportunities, as they feel most successful when they are learning and developing their intelligence. When facing difficult school transitions and challenging courses, students who hold a growth mindset are more likely to achieve academic success, and interventions can be used to foster this implicit theory of intelligence. Many higher education institutions utilize first-year seminars in order to facilitate student success, including Central Washington University (CWU). University 101 (UNIV 101) presents a unique opportunity to reach first-year students as they transition to college and may be an appropriate venue to incorporate a growth mindset intervention. This study explored whether including a growth mindset intervention in UNIV 101 had a positive impact on student success for first-year students. It was hypothesized that students whose UNIV 101 section included a growth mindset lesson would earn higher Fall quarter grades and be more likely to enroll in Winter quarter. Instructors were surveyed to ascertain whether and to what extent they included a growth mindset lesson in their UNIV 101 section(s), and student data were collected from institutional effectiveness. A multiple regression analysis and logistic regression analyses were conducted to explore the hypotheses; however, the data did not support either hypothesis.

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